Beth E. Kailes, DMD • Nicole M. Staman, DMD • Allison J. Johnston, DMD

Beth E. Kailes, DMD
Nicole M. Staman, DMD
Allison J. Johnston, DMD

Contact Us

(904) 215-7800

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Contact Us

(904) 215-7800

Close this search box.

Pediatric Dentist vs General Dentist: Which is the best for my child?

We know your child’s health is important, and choosing the right dentist is a big part. While family dentists are great for everyone, pediatric dentists specialize in treating young patients and have that special touch just for kids. This blog post highlights why a pediatric dentist might be the best choice for your child’s dental needs.

What is a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentistry is a specialized field focusing solely on the dental and oral health of infants, children, and adolescents. After dental school, pediatric dentists undergo additional training, including a two- to three-year residency program where they learn to cater specifically to children’s unique dental needs. This extra training focuses on understanding how children’s teeth and jaws develop and learning techniques for managing young patients’ behavior to make dental visits as stress-free as possible for both kids and parents.

What is a General Dentist

Family general dentistry offers a wide range of dental services for patients of all ages. They complete a standard dental education program and might have extra training in various areas or specialties, but their primary expertise is not in children’s dental care. Family general dentists are versatile and convenient for families looking to have all their dental needs met in one place. However, they might not have the same depth of experience in dealing with the specific needs of children as a pediatric dentist does.

Pediatric Dentists Provide Specialized Care for Children

Pediatric dentists are specifically trained just for kids. They use kid-friendly dental treatments and techniques designed to make dental visits more comfortable and less intimidating for our young patients. Their offices are decorated with bright colors, playful themes, and toys to create a warm and welcoming environment. They use positive reinforcement and distraction techniques to keep kids calm and at ease during procedures. Even the most nervous little patients can have a positive experience with a pediatric dentist!

The Pediatric Advantage: Tailored Treatments and Techniques

Choosing a pediatric dentist for your child means choosing a professional who understands the ins and outs of kids’ dental development. Pediatric dentists use smaller dental instruments designed for children’s mouths and are trained to handle the specific dental issues that can arise during childhood, such as early tooth decay, teething problems, and misaligned teeth.

Pediatric dentists are also experts in early orthodontic assessments. They identify potential alignment issues before they become significant problems, which means your child might need less invasive treatments later. Early intervention can make a huge difference in your child’s overall dental health and save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Pediatric Dentists Offer Preventative Care and Education

Education is a key part of a pediatric dentist’s job. They take the time to explain things in a way that both kids and parents can understand. They offer advice about proper oral hygiene practices, healthy nutrition habits, the importance of regular dental visits, and tips for thumb-sucking, pacifier use, teething, and cavity prevention to help parents navigate their child’s early dental development.

Pediatric Dentists are Trained for Special Needs and Complex Cases

Children with special needs often require a different approach to dental care, and pediatric dentists are prepared to meet physical, developmental, or behavioral challenges. They are skilled in using gentle, patient-centered techniques to ensure that every child receives the care they need in a comfortable and respectful way. By working closely with pediatricians and other specialists to create a coordinated and comprehensive care plan, this specialized expertise means that children with unique dental needs receive the best possible care in a supportive and understanding environment.

Making the Right Choice for Your Child

When it comes to choosing the right dental care for your child, a pediatric dentist offers many advantages. While family general dentists can provide comprehensive care for the whole family, a pediatric dentist’s specialized training to child-friendly offices, pediatric dentists are all about providing the highest level of care for young patients. Take the time to find a pediatric dentist who will be an excellent fit for your family and give your child the gift of a healthy smile.

Ask about the dentist’s qualifications, experience, and how the overall atmosphere of the dental practice feels to you and your child. The right dentist should make both of you feel comfortable and confident.

Also, take some time to read reviews and get recommendations from other parents. Visiting the dental office before deciding can help you get a feel for the environment and see how the staff interacts with children. A welcoming, friendly atmosphere can make all the difference in how your child perceives dental visits.

When searching online for a pediatric dentist, be sure to search for “kids dentist near me”, or “pediatric dentist near me”  to find the best choice closest to you.


Choosing the right dentist for your child is an important decision that can impact their oral health for years to come. Pediatric dentists offer specialized care tailored to the unique needs of children, ensuring that they receive the best possible dental care from infancy through the teen years. By prioritizing regular dental visits with a pediatric dentist, you can help your child build a strong foundation for a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles.